Opinion: Which metro Atlanta classrooms face greatest COVID risk?

Despite high risks of COVID-19 in their communities, some metro school districts chose to open this week for face-to-face classes. Most districts that went virtual this week because of concerns about the quick-spreading omicron variant hope to be back in classrooms next week. (McClatchy)

Credit: TNS

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Despite high risks of COVID-19 in their communities, some metro school districts chose to open this week for face-to-face classes. Most districts that went virtual this week because of concerns about the quick-spreading omicron variant hope to be back in classrooms next week. (McClatchy)

Credit: TNS

Georgia Tech’s tool reveals likelihood of COVID-positive person at event

I have been looking at Georgia Tech’s COVID-19 Event Risk Tool, which enables you to plug in a county and the number of people at an event to estimate the risk that at least one COVID-19 positive individual will be present.

The risk tool considers a county’s vaccination rates, which are still below 50% in many places in Georgia. The COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool is a collaborative project led by Joshua Weitz and Clio Andris at the Georgia Institute of Technology, along with researchers at the Applied Bioinformatics Laboratory, Duke University and Stanford University, and powered by RStudio.

The interactive online dashboard estimates the risk that at least one COVID positive individual is present in gatherings of different sizes in the United States by combining documented cases at the county level with information obtained via population-wide serological -- scientific study of serum and other body fluids -- surveys to estimate real-time circulating, per-capita infection rates.

I selected 25 people — average classroom size — for my event size on the risk tool today. You will see from the information that some school districts showing high risk on the Georgia Tech tracker still chose to open this week for face-to-face classes. Most districts that went virtual this week because of concerns about the quick-spreading omicron variant hope to be back in classrooms next week.

ExploreMask policies amid COVID: Where Metro Atlanta school districts stand

Here’s what I found when I examined metro Atlanta counties:

Teachers and students in Douglas County face the greatest risk of COVID-19 exposure in a classroom of 25 people: 81%. The school district plans to open Wednesday face-to-face.

Next up is Henry County at 79%. Henry plans to reopen with face-to-face classes on Monday.

Cobb, Fulton and Rockdale counties are all at 77%. Cobb plans to reopen in-person Wednesday. Fulton and Rockdale reopened remotely.

ExploreCobb, Gwinnett schools to resume in-person classes amid COVID surge

Coweta is at 75%. Coweta reopened today with face-to-face classes.

Clayton is at 74%. Clayton reopened online.

Paulding is 73%. Paulding reopened today with face-to-face classes.

Fayette is at 70%. Fayette plans to reopen Thursday with face-to-face classes.

DeKalb is 66%. DeKalb reopened online.

Walton is 64%. Walton reopened today with face-to-face classes.

Gwinnett is 63%. Gwinnett plans to reopen Thursday with face-to-face classes.

Forsyth is 61%. Forsyth reopened online.

Cherokee is 60%. Cherokee reopened today with face-to-face classes.

ExploreComplete coverage of COVID-19 in Georgia

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